Love & Rugby Combine to Make Kat Latham’s Knowing the Score a Win

5 Aug

Knowing the Score (London Legends #1 – Spencer and Caitlyn) by Kat Latham (Carina Press, August 5, 2013)

I love a great sports romance, probably because it’s almost impossible to find a hero who isn’t incredibly confident and physically fit (six packs are a given, right?). Add to that the intricacies of a specific game and the challenges to a relationship with a public figure and you have a built-in conflict for the couple to overcome. Perfect.

That said, the best sports romances are the ones where the writer is damn smart about whatever game they have chosen as a focus. I don’t need a rulebook, but show me that you know your sport and that world becomes that much more believable. Great sports romance writers like Jaci Burton in her Play-by-Play series, Jill Shalvis’ Pacific Heat books, and most recently Alison Packard embarking on her new series featuring the San Francisco Blaze baseball team, all have that combination of intelligent detail and heartfelt emotion that make their books a winner.

Well, ladies, you’ve got one more member in the clubhouse, and she comes with a decidedly international flair. Kat Latham has just had her first book published by Carina Press, Knowing the Score, and MY GOD, it’s fantastic! Latham, a California native who lives in the Netherlands with her British husband, has traveled all of the world working as a writer for nonprofits specializing in human rights. I’m going to go out on a limb that she’s probably a pretty terrific person based on her altruistic interests and the fact that she sounds nice on her blog. Did I mention she just had a baby in April? What can this woman not do?

Knowing the Score could not have a more terrific premise. Spencer Bailey is a rugby superstar still haunted by an incident in his long distant past. Abandoned by his mom to the care of his grandparents, he’s horrified when his elderly grandfather is in the hospital from a heart attack. Luckily some good samaritan happened across him and gave him CPR until the ambulance arrived. When the curly haired redhead appears in the hospital room, Spencer is ready to do what it takes to get this gorgeous creature in his bed. He has strict rules that he only has sex in the off-season so as not to distract him from rugby (or chance a scandal while he’s playing) and the clock is ticking.

Caitlyn Sweeney may be a twenty-seven year old virgin, but she’s no fool. Spencer is sex-on-a-stick and she has no idea that he’s famous, despite walking past his underwear billboard advertisement everyday. If she can just turn off the negative voices and fear in her head, she knows that he would turn her on like a lightbulb, but she’s not sure that she’s capable of working past all the baggage she’s carried around for years. Her job at an international aid organization is rewarding but her Visa expires in December, so when she hears that Spencer is more than happy to patiently coax her along and that he only wants something for the off-season, it’s the perfect answer to her “rid me of this hymen already” prayers!

Rugby – full-contact, no padding, and lots of mud with men in shorts. What’s not to love?

What neither expect is how much they end up liking and admiring one another. And that feeling, combined with the trust and intimacy involved with the physical side of their relationship, results in both of them falling fast without knowing if there’s a real future with each other. Add to the mix that both Spencer and Caitlyn are keeping some pretty big secrets in reserve and this happily ever after might go off the rails quickly.

I cannot say enough about how much I adored this book! Spencer was wicked sexy, a man scarred by his past errors in judgment, who is so clearly smitten with Caitlyn (her obliviousness regarding his fame and his sport delights him) that he’s often unsure as to what he’s actually feeling. Caitlyn has had a crap childhood followed by a pretty awful young adulthood so – unlike too many of these stories involving older modern virgins – it’s very understandable that she’s waited until now to trust someone enough to have sex with them. I loved her work as well as her modesty and anyone reading this book has to also appreciate the delightful character of Spencer’s elderly grandfather, who is adorable in his machinations.

This book represents the first in a series, London Legends, and all I can say is THANK YOU!!! I’m not sure I could manage this novel as a one-off. Please note that ebook readers usually start you at the first page, which means that you’ve missed the introductory note from the author where she gives you some vocabulary regarding rugby. Unless you are a rugby aficionado, I suggest you read it before you start, otherwise you’re going to be more than a little lost. (A hooker is not what you think it is.)

I’ve got all my fingers and toes crossed I won’t have to wait too long for the next book in this series. Knowing the Score is going into my reread pile, for sure, and at a mere three dollars and change I would say every sports romance enthusiast needs to get off their bum and purchase this ebook post-haste.

Many thanks to Kat Latham for writing such a terrific romance!

11 Responses to “Love & Rugby Combine to Make Kat Latham’s Knowing the Score a Win”

  1. Kat Latham August 6, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    Oh my gosh, this is the *nicest* review! I’m so thrilled you liked my book this much. I’m going to print this out and tape it up near my computer, for those frustrating days when the words don’t come. Thank you!

    • torimacallister August 6, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

      Please do if you like it that much – I think you are so talented and I cannot WAIT to continue reading your books! 🙂

  2. Alison Packard August 6, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    I can vouch that Kat is a wonderful person. I haven’t met her…yet, but we’ve exchanged a bunch of emails over the past couple of months. Sports romances are my favorite genre and I’ve got this one lined up next in my reading queue. I hope to learn a lot more about rugby!

    • torimacallister August 6, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

      I’m inspired to scope my Netflix and Amazon Prime Queue to see if there are any rugby documentaries to watch (like the “best of” Spencer refers to in the book). I plant to be much more studied for the next book! I think it’s super the two of you correspond since you’ve got the sports-romance theme in common. 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Release week giveaway, day 2: Win Alison Packard’s The Winning Season and a sporty T-shirt — Kat Latham - August 6, 2013

    […] And here’s one of my favorite reviews, written by Tori MacAllister. I’m going to print this one and hang it by my computer. “I cannot say enough about how much I adored this book! Spencer was wicked sexy, a man scarred by his past errors in judgment, who is so clearly smitten with Caitlyn (her obliviousness regarding his fame and his sport delights him) that he’s often unsure as to what he’s actually feeling…This book represents the first in a series, London Legends, and all I can say is THANK YOU!!! I’m not sure I could manage this novel as a one-off.” […]

  2. Sunday Reflections: Upcoming Books, Fun Stuff and Great Deals You Might Have Missed, Week of October 6, 2013 | torimacallister - October 6, 2013

    […] new author Kat Latham (who blew me away with the first book in her rugby-based London Legends series, Knowing the Score) will be offering a connected Christmas novella to her series, Mine Under the […]

  3. Sunday Reflections: Upcoming Books, Fun Stuff and Great Deals You Might Have Missed, Week of November 24, 2013 | torimacallister - November 24, 2013

    […] Talented debut author Kat Latham, of Knowing the Score fame, is having a Rafflecopter giveaway for not just her new Christmas story, contained in the All I’m Asking For Christmas anthology (pre-ordered!!), but also the other Carina Press contemporary holiday anthology, For My Own. Since I’ve yet to read a Carina anthology I haven’t enjoyed, these are both on my December reading (and reviewing) list, but winning them would make great gifts to the romance fiction lovers in my life. Enter before December 1st to see if you can’t win a copy and enjoy great writing with your holiday cheer. […]

  4. December Read-a-thon: All I’m Asking For Anthology Demonstrates How Taking Risks Equals the Best of Holiday Rewards | torimacallister - December 9, 2013

    […] Ever since I raved about Kat Latham’s terrific book, Knowing the Score, I knew I’d pre-order anything she wrote, and that’s actually why I purchased this anthology (and in further support of her, the individual copy of Mine Under the Mistletoe as well!). […]

  5. Sunday Reflections: Upcoming Books, Fun Stuff and Great Deals You Might Have Missed, January 19th, 2014 | torimacallister - January 19, 2014

    […] of favorite author discovers in 2013, Kat Latham, author of the wonderful Knowing the Score, has the next book up in her London Legends series starring uber-hot rugby players, Playing It […]

  6. Don’t Miss It! Upcoming Books, New Releases and Great Deals You Might Have Missed, March 30, 2014 | torimacallister - March 30, 2014

    […] world, but thankfully we have Kat Latham to fill the gap for us with her London Legends series. I can’t say enough about her first book, Knowing the Score, and as a result I’m eager to devour the next book, Playing It Close, when it debuts on April […]

  7. Did You Miss It? New Books, Fun Stuff, and Great Deals You May Have Missed | torimacallister - August 3, 2014

    […] in the passion which is clearly there. If you haven’t read the first two in the series (take a look at my review of the first book, Knowing the Score, to get a sense how wonderful this wri…), pick them up now so you are ready for the third book in the […]

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